Litkicks Message Board Archive

re: Morrison's grave & the cult

Posted to What Are You Reading?

The writer of the cultural anthropological thesis on the cult surrounding Jim Morrison, Dr. Stig Söderholm, did fieldwork at the graveyard in March, and July 1985, in London 1985, in LA, San Fran, and Jamaica 1987, and again in Paris and the graveyard 1987 and 1988. He was there with a photographer and got valuable pics about the original graffiti before the authorities began to suffocate the cult, but at the time his thesis was ready, the cult on the grave was there again. Do you think it's Jim Morrison to blame if people can't behave well there? Do you think he'd want that his memory were not respected? Aren't these people, who can't behave, either ignorant kids or dope addicts for whom it's indifferent what Jim would think? I think it's the cult to blame, the form the cult has taken. Does that make it justifiable to ignore Jim Morrison's work as a poet and especially musician?

The thesis I'm referring to, was not studying his poems, nor his biography, nor his music, but THE CULT AROUND HIM! Even the name of thesis says it: an ETHNOGRAPHIC interpretation of the cult. And if an artist says in an interview that he/she has studied shamanism, and uses it in his/her art, it doesn't mean he'd SERIOUSLY believe he/she is a shaman.

So much creativity of growing children is left undeveloped and unencouraged! Even active writers and artists have to continously look for inspiration and assure themselves that "they can do anything"!!! I feel it myself just now: I want to yell to my weak ego that "YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! TRUST YOURSELF!

What a famous pop star is saying in an interview, cannot be taken literally to be his last words... - And if you still doubt whether Jim Morrison studied shamanism, don't you think it odd that a researcher whose main field of research is CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, would go and write a thesis full of lies and assumptions? He is working at the present at the University of Joensuu in Finland, I think his e-mail address is, please tell him about your doubts... - Because you are apparently not able to read Finnish, I can tell you that the Notes part contains lots of references to several sad and negative facts that happened during The Doors concerts, facts about his drugs use, and there's a whole chapter about the drugs -- but does that give us right to lash Jim Morrison in his grave, and forget his music, what he did successfully -


P.S. Ever heard of the rites of passage? Read Victor Turner's The Ritual Process and/or The Forest of Symbols (in the latter especially the chapter "Between and Betwixt"), or Arnold van Gennep's Rites of Passage, or any work by Mircea Eliade, e.g. The Sacred and the Profane, or The Myth of the Eternal Return, or Shamanism - Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy. In rites of passage there is first the separation from all old, structured forms to a LIMINAL, in-between NOWHERE, where you so-to-speak have a blank sheet of paper in front of you, for creation of something new. Artists like to stay in a liminal phase, achieve it by different means (some do it by drugs), and isn't a purely Romantic work of art or fiction the product of staying in a prolonged liminal stage? Of course even movements that start from pure rapture and enthusiasm of dissidence, counter-culture, can slowly achieve a structured, socially approved status, but then they are no more counter movements... among aboriginal tribes the 3rd stage in a young boy's initiation into a man was what the society expected to happen. A shaman's trip to "the other side" correspond's a rite of passage, or, in literature, the hero's successful quest for the bowl of Graal, the IT... which mostly afterwards proves to be just this thrill of searching - the journey of Odysseus, and the joy of telling the tale... the shaman's journey to the other side, which only an artist is able to do, and finds his/her mission in life to be...